Apr 22

For me personally, the Mainland’s grandparents and great-grandparents are China’s most interesting generation. As soon as I could string a few sentences together I was trying to get our neighbours to tell us about their stories and experiences. But Xinran, the authour of China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation, being Chinese, can go light-years farther in an interview than I can with my novice Mandarin, mere beginner’s cultural understanding, white face and 大鼻子。
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Nov 12

Something no less significant than the country’s rapid economic growth of past three decades is that a group of brilliantly independent-thinking intellectual elites came into being with growing public impact, thanks to a relatively more relaxed era. While among them the liberal rightists have found more official avenues publicizing their opinions and effectively influencing the decision-making process at the high-up (as with the cases of economists li yining, Wu Jinglian and zhang weiying, the prime campaigners of western free market economy and neo-liberalism), the liberal leftists, with a sharper edge in critical and alternative thinking on important but still taboo issues such as the legacies of Mao, socialist practice and Cultural Revolution in light of China’s modernization and democratization, have been on the fringe. Cui Zhiyuan, Professor at School of Public Policy and Management in Tsinghua University, is one of them. Continue reading »

Jun 24

The vast majority of Chinese favor and support the “opening up and reform” period started in 1978. But many are also very nostalgic for the Mao era, a time when equality was guaranteed, a time when socialism in China was far more than just a hypothetical. One simple example is translated below.

This article has been spread around numerous Chinese forums, actual origin not clear. (原贴)

I was born in 1954, in a village in Shandong province. I have a sister, and our parents are also peasant farmers. I want to start by talking about the prices of agricultural goods, starting with wheat as an example. From 1970 – 1980, the market price for wheat was: 0.35 RMB/shijin (ed: 0.5 kg), later growing to 0.35 RMB/shijing. The cost of things didn’t really change, it was very stable during this period. So the problem I want to discuss is, when a farmer sells a half kilogram of wheat on the market, what can he do with that money?
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